EDHS News and Updates

"The 844": He Died Trying to Save His Beloved

Chicago, Illinois -- We honor and remember the following who were among "The 844" who lost their lives in the Eastland Disaster: Josephine (Mrs. Frank) Dolezal (age 27); Lillie Dolezal (9 months); Mary Dolezal (4); Paul H. Dolgner (24); Robert Doll (21); Charles Doll (17); Stanley Dombkowski (30); Eleanore Donajska (17); Florence T. Drury (17); and Roberto Fornera (21).

Roberto Fornera (pictured left) greatly anticipated July 24, 1915, where he would attend Western Electric's picnic and excursion with his girlfriend with whom he was very much in love. Bobby (as his American friends called him) planned to pop the question to his beloved when they got to the picnic grounds, asking her to become his wife.

Roberto and his girlfriend had barely stepped aboard the Eastland when the ship capsized. He was an excellent swimmer, and even amidst the mayhem, Roberto was able to reach safety and could have saved himself. But when he struggled to the surface and could not locate his beloved, he frantically dove back down to search for her in the murky waters of the Chicago River. He went back down twice.

Roberto's family was in their home and greatly anticipated the end of the day when they would all gather around the table to share in the excitement of Roberto's engagement. That time never came as Roberto and his girlfriend both perished.

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